13 Going on 30

Review Date:
Director: Gary Winick
Writer: Cathy Yuspa, Josh Goldsmith
Producers: Susan Arnold, Gina Matthews
Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink
Mark Ruffalo as Matt
Judy Greer as Lucy
A nerdy 13-year old girl who just wants to “fit in”, wishes that she was 30 and magically awakens inside the body of Jennifer Garner the next day (kinda like I wish I woke up every morning). Confused and elated, the girl quickly realizes that she has been thrust into her own future and must now deal with both her friends and job, as a 13-year old in the body of a 30-year old. Wow…I’ve never heard of this revolutionary concept for a motion picture…let’s see what they can do with it!
There are only so many “tween”-targeted movies that I can skip in my role as the “film critic” on JoBlo.com (believing that my opinion on any such film likely wouldn’t matter to anyone), but I suppose there are worse ways to spend an evening than watching Jennifer Garner grabbing her boobies for 95 minutes. I didn’t expect much going into this generic-looking film and didn’t get much in return, but was somewhat entertained by it all, despite its safe and regurgitated themes. The film doesn’t pretend to be original in any kind of way (it’s basically a lot like Tom Hanks’ BIG, but with a chick) and reminded me a lot of last year’s similarly themed FREAKY FRIDAY (which I also ended up liking to a certain extent), but didn’t really suck and sold me on its lead relationship between Garner and the great Mark Ruffalo, enough to recommend to anyone whose sensibilities this picture might have twinkled in the first place. In other words, if your girlfriend forces you to go see this movie with her…it’s not going to be worst experience of your life (especially if you get a handjob out of it), despite the proverbial musical montage sequences and cheesy stuff like the “gang” dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Sigh. Thankfully, the film took some great notes from Adam Sandler’s THE WEDDING SINGER, peppering its soundtrack with groovy 80s tunes (to an old jerk like myself…many of the songs made sense), including the underappreciated “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar. Yeah! The film also doesn’t bog itself down with the specifics of its time-travel/body-switching plotline, which you should just “go with” if you want to enjoy any part of it. Once Garner grows up overnight, it basically turns into your standard “fish out of water” tale and despite not making me laugh, it did manage not to bore the shit out of me (if that’s not a great quotable endorsement, I don’t know what is!)

Thankfully for me, Garner is a very pretty girl (and me likes the pretty girls!) while Ruffalo — who despite seemingly “selling out” with this role — provided the film with an ounce of credibility and surprising emotional attachment nearing its conclusion (then again, maybe that was “my own shit” going on) I was also quite surprised by the touching romance between Ruff and Jen, and appreciated that angle more than any other in the film. Most of the rest of the stuff in the movie has been seen a million times before, so if you’re looking for originality, you ain’t going to find it here. The film’s message still touches home though-“You can’t go back in time and change your life decisions, but you can…learn from them, improve your present status and live a better life”. Gotta love it. And oh yeah, for LOTR fans…Gollum shows up as a British magazine editor…and no CGI help either! Overall, I’m not going to pretend that this is a great movie by any means, but “for what it is”, it certainly delivers a serviceable time at the theater, featuring some fun 80s songs, credible chemistry and charming romance between the two leads and a cute, fairytale-like ending. I liked the film’s second “more serious” half better than its first “lighter/more typical” first half, and would likely recommend it more as a “video watch”, but like I said earlier, if it’s the kind of thing that appeals to you in the first place…chances are that you’ll enjoy it enough to pay for in theaters. Incidentally, I wish that I were 13 again so that I could partake in some of the wackiness that kids that age are apparently participating in these days. Wow. When I was 13, I was just happy to be playing with my Legos and trying to figure out what that raging pickle was between my legs (PS: I’m still trying to figure it out!)

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

13 Going on 30



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